Israel worried by images of troops fleeing Palestinian rioters

Tuesday, December 11, 2012 |  Ryan Jones  

Israel on Tuesday was locked in heated and worried debate over videos and photographs showing Israeli soldiers fleeing before a stone-throwing mob of Palestinian Arabs.

The incident occurred in the Samarian ("West Bank") village of Kfar Qaddum last Friday, when locals staged a weekly riot against the nearby presence of Israel's security fence.

Typically, the soldiers will engage and arrest those who use violence. But some of the soldiers involved said their commander was frightened by the presence of foreign media cameramen and the inaccurate way they would portray any act of self defense on the part of the IDF troops.

So, the soldiers were ordered to run away, and the Palestinian media hailed the confrontation as a major victory.

"This incident is a shot in the arm for the Palestinians and that is how it was presented and projected in the Palestinian media," a Palestinian journalist told Israel's Ynet news portal.

The images coupled with the UN's recent recognition of "Palestine" are expected to lead to even larger and more frequent riots culminating in a fresh intifada, or terrorist uprising.

Israel's Shin Bet internal security agency reported this week that in addition to the increasing street violence, it has registered a spike in intelligence alerts regarding planned acts of terrorism against Israeli targets.

Israel is looking for ways to calm the situation ahead of March, when Palestinians mark the "Nakba", or "catastrophe" of Israel's modern rebirth. Should the rise in violence continue, that is the most likely date for the launch of a new uprising against Israel.

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